Mondays with Molly: Super School and Project Based Learning

Mondays with Molly- Super School and Project Based Learning

So last week you blogged about the Super School Project, what about it resonates with you?

Well, one thing I like about the contest is that it is set up for a great Project Based Learning experience.

So is the contest a project itself?

Yes. The project starts with a challenge to create a real school. The way it works is, the contest provides all of the criteria, then groups get together to submit whatever their idea of what a high school should look like, in their eyes. It requires students to have input and engage in the process of their own education… what do they think should change? Should be available? What do they think education should look like.

It makes sense to touch base with the actual users of education, the students… just like in any normal marketplace.

Exactly. But what it does is raise the question… what is the purpose of this education? As you would a product… what is the consumer needing this for?

Well my mind goes directly to… being educated, and by that I mean smart in some way, and of course, to prepare one for a career…

Ok, some argue economics… needing an educated workforce ready for careers. Others argue that our focus should be raising happy children. And I personally I don’t believe they are separate. I think the goal should both… educating people to be able to tackle the problems in society and in real life and make our world a better place.   

So how would you approach this contest and this solution?

Well, I believe the best way is to engage students the way they learn naturally. This is done by creating a rich learning environment for all students and preparing students for any opportunity that is out there.

Right. Because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all… not everyone has the same destiny.

Exactly, that means a certain facility with language, both reading, writing and articulating ideas as well as using math concepts to manipulate data and understand graphs… basic science and social studies to understand the interconnected relationships…as well as collaborating, managing time, persevering…

To me, that means we want thinkers that can solve problems. It goes past careers and income and further into helping society. At the most basic level, to create a satisfied generation that is engaged and fullfilled… and then to the next level… which would be this same generation that would feel inspired to make a difference in our world… I mean, even on a global level.

I guess we don’t always connect how we learn in high school to how we feel and operate ourselves in the real world… and it’s impact on society.

Education has always always been the key.

So with regards to what you are doing at Novare, how does this connect to that?

Well, we don’t define the projects… we feel that is up to the schools and the teachers, they know what their students need. But what they need is help in organizing information to help guide the next steps and ultimately…save teachers time. Which, believe me, is huge!

So Novare enables schools to embark on Project Based Learning….?

Yes, we engage students by supporting project based learning… allowing students to demonstrate understanding in multiple modes, explore projects that excite them, get feedback and try again, as well as, building perseverance, reflection and resiliency.

What is it about Projects that make education practice different? Is it the process of the project or the way in which we have to then assess projects?

Both. Project Work is not new. The process is open ended, helping students learn to make decisions and manage time. However, using technology to support teachers with organizing projects and connecting open-ended projects to assessment IS new. Being able to do it in one place is new. Supporting teachers to make it sustainable is new… and it’s what Novare is doing.

Well, I will certainly check out the Super School Project and what people are saying.

Yes, they’re mixing it up and it’s fun to watch.

Thanks, Molly! See you next time!

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